Chicago Suburb Square Foot Garden 2013

Name: Erin
Gardening Year: 2013
Location: Bartlett, IL
Planting by Color: Green/Maroon

As I begin planning my 2013 garden I’ve reflected on what failed last year. Our very warm spring turned into a crazy hot and dry summer; which I believe contributed to a poor yield overall. See my 2012 post here and my 2012 plan I revised per everyone’s helpful comments below:

Last year I started peppers, tomatoes,  cabbage and eggplant indoors. The jalapenos and cabbage did very well both indoors and after I transplanted them. However, I had some trouble indoors with may tomato starts. The leaves kept curling up and falling off despite having plenty of water. They did better once I moved them into the garden, but I only got ONE tomato off of the two surviving plants. I bought one replacement tomato plant and didn’t get any tomatoes off that either. So after two years of tomato failure I have decided that they do not like my raised beds and I will plant them in pots on the south side of my house in full blazing sun. If that doesn’t work, well then I guess I just wasn’t meant to grow tomatoes.

I have also learned that winter squash also do not like my raised bed garden. Both plants did not do well this year. However I planted two winter squash on the east side of my house in a flower bed and they did great (although powdery mildew put a damper on my yield). Powdery mildew seems to be a constant issue with all of my squash, both summer and winter. I have yet to find a good organic means of dealing with it.

Oh, and one more thing… We planted a peach tree and got 5 peaches last year!! Maybe I should be growing fruit instead.

Anyhow, enough about my very pathetic 2012 garden, here is my plan for this year:

One thing that I have learned over the past two years is that I am more than capable of growing beets and carrots. So I will definitely continue to grow lots of them. I have had some success with onion sets, although they are usually pretty small and I’m wondering if maybe I’m planting them too deep.

I got one watermelon last year. This year I think I will try to grow them up the trellis in the northern garden.

Things that are new this year are: Garlic, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Rutabaga (fall ’13). The garlic I planted last fall as it is my understanding that it has to over-winter. Winter squash I will continue to grow on the east side of my house in the flower bed.

So, what do you think? Am I being too ambitious with the cauliflower (considering that I can’t even grow tomatoes)? Do you have any tips for growing tomatoes in containers? Anything you would move?

I am going to try to update at some point this summer, hopefully with some pretty pictures of my garden full of vegetables. Thanks for your help as always!

Happy Gardening!

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2 Responses

  1. Cindy says:

    I’m a fairly new gardener myself, and in my research Ive learned that tomatoes and peppers don’t like each other. That could be why your tomatoes didn’t do well last year. Planting them on opposite sides of the garden seems to work. That’s what I do; my closest plants are maybe 7′ apart, and they grew up nicely like that last year.

    My neighbor prefers to grow her tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets. She waters daily and uses Miracle Grow. Her tomatoes come up just fine!

  2. Cherry Downs says:

    Tomatoes are an acid loving plant. They like their soil a bit on the acid side. Sometimes brown edged, curled leaves is a sign of potassium deficiency as well as some blights. If it was a nutrition deficiency it could have been because your soil was too alkaline and the tomato plants did not have access to the potassium in the soil. Ideally you could have your soil tested for nutritionals and Ph values. Your local garden center could guide you to the correct amendment or treatment. I have clay soils here in KY so I had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year but poor yield of everything else. I was picking grape tomatoes in November! Good luck with your garden this year!